I was sitting with the CMO & Head of Social today. They work at a global, listed, multi-billion dollar organisation. We were creating a framework to build from the pilot we ran on implementing social into their go to market strategy for one business unit to  be across UK & EMEA.

We then got onto the subject of CRM adoption - they are at the early stages of roll out of a new, globally recognised platform. Usual challenges apply - Lack of engagement, stuck in the old way of doing things, what's in it for me, this is just another technology platform - you will all be familiar with these excuses. They asked for my counsel.

Has the Why been articulated, I asked. Much like when I talk about the importance of Social & Digital in a Sales & Marketing context, the Why on CRM is just as critical. Or any implementation of anything for that matter. Even a change in process needs to be preceded with the Why.

We then debated what was the Why. 

Whilst the desired output was better management information, more efficient to use, improved client data, better for sales, marketing & business development etc -again all the usual suspects in terms of internal PR lines - this, for me, is the wrong messaging. Especially when you have a global organisation, multiple business units, who all market & sell differently, have different perceptions of what selling & marketing means to them, even CRM. This is the by-product. A very important one, of course.

This is all about harnessing Data. Why? To drive better client experience.  Gartner data shows that over half of what drives Customer loyalty is the Buying Experience. The better the buying experience, the more loyal - upsell and cross sell opportunities for global, multi-faceted organisations. 

How do you create a better buying experience. By Understanding what that looks like. 

How do you do this? With Data. What does a good, profitable client look like for you as a business? What data do I need to understand this? CRM, Financial, Marketing & Client Feedback Data. How do we learn from this and iterate to keep continually improving. What questions do we need to be asking? Check out what at www.node.io are doing in this space to help with this.

Start with the what each Business Unit is trying to achieve, what is their target? More revenue, maintain market levels, penetrate new markets, increase margins, reduce client attrition. Then reverse engineer this back through your processes and systems to understand what input is required, where and by whom. Then and only then can you help your business understand the Why. Why this is business critical that you add your data into CRM - or whatever system it may be - the output will be a loyal and profitable customer. 

This is no easy feat. Humans are fickle creatures, we do not like change, we can be fearful of being shown as to not understand what this new world order is about, which is why this has to be as much about change management, not technology. However, in the 21st Century, we now have access to more data then we have ever had before.  We now need to understand how to harness this asset to help you articulate the Why. For any project.  

We are now in a Data. People. Process. Technology world. Those organisations that understand how to harness their data to help drive the Why & the How, based on what their Clients want as a buying experience will strike data gold.